A week of R&R has quickly rolled past and tomorrow I am starting the second of two back-to-back landscape workshops to the Great Ocean road in Victoria and World Heritage Forests and Wild Coasts of Tasmania. Although I have been to Tasmania countless times in the course of my life I never tire of returning to this wonderfully quiet corner of the world. Smattered with primordial old growth forest, pristine rivers and wild and rocky coastlines the landscape opportunities are as fantastic as they are varied. Perhaps best of all, there are still many opportunities to create strong and unique photographs that transcend those captured in the many over touristed locations found around the world today – it is in many ways virgin ground. I have been so taken with the untapped potential on offer in Tasmania that I have decided to return in May next year 2020 and offer one more landscape workshop to Van Diemens land and its primordial forests and coastlines. I will have full details soon, but you can pre-register your interest by dropping me an email at email@example.com
Shifting gears somewhat, and hot on the heels of my recent (and somewhat controversial as it turns out) post on ‘Why the DSLR is here for many years to Come *’ are some more thoughts on where mirrorless cameras actually fall into action for the working professional (and serious amateur). Despite what some might believe, I am not against mirrorless cameras (I actually just purchased one – A Canon EOS R). I believe mirrorless cameras hold some significant advantages over traditional DSLR cameras for certain applications and in certain situations. Firstly, mirrorless cameras (the bodies anyway – For some reason mirrorless lenses are often bigger and heavier than their mirrored cousins) are generally much smaller and lighter than their traditional DSLR counterparts. This makes them ideal for hiking and travel. EVF’s (Electronic View Finders) also offer some added additional capability not found in a traditional SLR Mirror camera. Features such as a live histogram in the viewfinder, zebras (for blown out areas) and focus peaking are all really useful features. The problem with EVF’s to date is their tendency to simply shut down and stop working once they are exposed to temperatures below -10º Celsius for extended periods. Granted, this isn’t going to be an issue for most people, but if you plan to photograph in the world’s Polar Regions at any stage it bears serious consideration. Battery life is also a serious problem in cold weather. The extra current draw required for EVF’s results in dramatically shorter battery time in sub zero temperatures. I have watched photographers struggle with mirrorless battery life on recent cold weather workshops in the Arctic and the necessity to swap batteries in and out on a regular basis is a royal pain in the rear end. By comparison I can get multiple days out a Canon EOS 1DX MKII battery in temperatures as low as -35º Celsius and shoot thousands of frames. No mirrorless camera can do that (yet). Nor, can any mirrorless camera match the focus speed and accuracy of a 1DX MKII in the sort of conditions in which I frequently find myself shooting. I know much of the mirrorless hype would have you believe otherwise, but actual real world experience in the field has shown me it simply is not the case. Nor can any mirrorless camera yet match the rugged build and reliability of a 1DX MKII. That time may come, but today the weapon of choice for serious wildlife work in inclement conditions has to be the Canon EOS 1DX MKII (and its Nikon equivalent). That said, mirrorless cameras most definitely offer some significant advantages for landscape photography (in all but the harshest of conditions) and that is why I decided to add a Canon EOS R mirrorless to my arsenal. I did seriously consider the Fuji GFX50 (and its new big brother the GFX100), but ultimately decided the lack of native tilt shift lenses was a deal breaker for me. Especially since the larger sensor in the Fuji results in even shallower depth of field.
For my second Great Ocean Road and Tasmania workshop I am packing the following:
- 1 x Canon EOS R Mirrorless w/ Really Right Stuff L Bracket (with spare batteries)
- 1 x Canon 17mm F4L TSE Lens
- 1 x Canon 24-70mm F4L IS Lens
- 1 x Canon 24mm F3.5L TSE Lens
- 1 x Canon 100-400mm F3.5-5.6L MKII Lens
- 1 x Canon 1.4 TC MKIII
- 1 x Gitzo GT3533S Carbon Fibre Tripod with an Arca Swiss D4 Geared Head
- 1 x Set of Nisi Graduated Filters w/ V6. Holder and Polariser
- 1 x Set of Lee Neutral Density Filters
This will be my first foray into serious landscape photography with my own personal mirrorless camera and I am really looking forward to seeing how it performs in the field. I decided to opt for the EF adapter with the added functionality of the control ring (which I have left at its default setting for Aperture control). Since I primarily plan to use this camera for tripod landscape photography I decided not to purchase any native RF lenses, but rather adapt my current EF lenses (especially my TSE lenses). The addition of the 1.4 TC MKIII is mostly for use on the 24mm TSE lens (turning it into a 35mm TSE Lens). The keen eyed amongst you might also note the addition of a suite of Nisi Filters. Yes, I recently upgraded from my rather scratched, much loved, but well and truly worn out ‘LEE resin filters’. See you in Tasmania!
* Addendum – It seems Ricoh agrees with me. The DSLR is here for many years to come.